Brooklyn Nets: 3 takeaways from 2nd-half fade at Oklahoma City

Brooklyn Nets Russell Westbrook. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Russell Westbrook. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Russell Westbrook. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder caught fire in the second half and overwhelmed the Brooklyn Nets for a 108-96 victory Wednesday night at Oklahoma City.

The Brooklyn Nets came out on the short end of the halftime adjustments Wednesday night and once Oklahoma City Thunder stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George got rolling, the Nets were powerless to stop them.

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Westbrook nearly put up a triple-double in the second half alone, putting up 14 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds after the break to go with George’s 13-point third quarter and Oklahoma City (42-26) came back from 17 points down in the first half to swamp Brooklyn (36-34) 108-96 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Nets did, however, maintain their tenuous half-game hold on sixth place in the Eastern Conference despite the loss, as the Detroit Pistons followed Monday’s 103-75 loss at Barclays Center with a 108-74 thumping at the hands of the Miami Heat on South Beach Wednesday.

Detroit remains a half-game behind Brooklyn, with the Heat now 2½ behind the Nets in eighth place. Miami gained some ground in the race for eighth, with the Orlando Magic taking a 100-90 loss on the road to the Washington Wizards. The Heat lead the Magic and Charlotte Hornets each by two games.

Brooklyn had everything going right early, pushing the lead to double digits in the first quarter by holding Oklahoma City to 29.2 percent shooting and forcing five turnovers.

The Nets were up 42-25 with 5:07 left in the first half, but the Thunder closed the half with a flourish, getting four points in the final 6.9 seconds to cut the deficit to 10 at 52-42.

Westbrook got a bucket on a layup before Terrence Ferguson stole a bad inbounds pass from Rodions Kurucs. Westbrook ended up with the ball and was credited with a basket when Jarrett Allen was called for a goaltending violation with 0.5 second left in the half.

That gave the Thunder momentum heading into the half and they stormed out of intermission with a 9-1 run. The teams volleyed the lead back and forth in the middle part of the third quarter before Oklahoma City took control with another 9-1 burst.

Brooklyn battled back to get back to within two at 80-78 when Spencer Dinwiddie split a pair of free throws late in the period.

The Nets took their last lead early in the fourth quarter when Dinwiddie canned a corner 3, but Deonte Burton gave OKC the lead right back with a nice cutting layup off a feed from Ferguson. The Thunder put the game away with a 14-0 run to go up 102-87 with 4:21 left.

Brooklyn shot 41.7 percent (35-for-84) on the night and hit 13-of-35 (37.1 percent) from deep, whiling giving up a 22-15 edge in points off turnovers — all of those points coming in the final three quarters — and getting hammered 23-5 on second-chance opportunities.

The Thunder shut off the driving lanes in the second half. Brooklyn had a 30-16 edge at the break in points in the paint, but recorded just 10 points in the lane over the final 24 minutes and were ultimately outscored 46-40 in that area.

The Thunder shot 42.7 percent (41-for-96) and hit 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) from deep, while outrebounding the Nets 51-43 overall and 16-7 on the offensive window.

Dinwiddie led the Nets with 25 points off the bench. Ed Davis had 11 rebounds and D’Angelo Russell finished with 14 points, seven assists and three steals. Joe Harris was the only other Brooklyn player in double-figures with 13 points.

Westbrook finished with 31 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and three steals, while George had 25 points and two blocks.

The Nets continue their longest road trip of the season Saturday night against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City before facing the LA Clippers Sunday in their next-to-last back-to-back games of the season.

Here are three takeaways from the loss at Oklahoma City.